Three former Pennsylvania police officers have agreed that they wrongfully killed 8-year-old Fanta Bility. The dismissed officers – Brian Devaney, 42; Sean Dolan, 26; and Devon Smith, 35 – fatally shot Fanta on August 21, 2021, while monitoring a crowd at a sporting event held at the Academy Park High School in Sharon Hill.
According to prosecutors, gunfire erupted when the football game was nearing its end, and crowds of people rushed towards the exit to leave the field. The police officers said shots were fired at them and they fired back into the crowd as well as at a car they suspected the shooters were firing from. After firing a total of 25 shots, Fanta was dead after being hit in the chest, and three other children including Fanta’s sister were injured.
Fanta and her mom as well as her 12-year-old sister had attended the game that day. They had gone to watch her sister who was a cheerleader and a cousin who played in the game.
The trio of Devaney, Dolan and Smith in a plea bargain pleaded guilty to 10 counts of reckless endangerment in the death of the little girl. They were initially charged with voluntary and involuntary manslaughter as well as reckless endangerment, but the manslaughter charges were dropped after the former officers agreed to a plea deal.
They are scheduled to be sentenced on January 12, 2023. According to legal experts, each count of reckless endangerment carries a maximum penalty of up to two years in prison. Sharon Hill district attorney Jack Stollsteimer said Fanta’s family was consulted throughout the process of the plea deal and that it had their consent.
“The agony we feel constantly reliving the loss of our dear Fanta, who was just 8 years old when she was killed by Sharon Hill police officers, is impossible to describe with words,” said Siddiq Kamara, Fanta’s cousin. “Since her mother and siblings were witnesses to this tragic incident, they will have to live with that trauma imprinted in their memories for the rest of their lives.”
Fanta’s cousin Mariam Sanoe said the late girl loved to make TikTok videos and she loved fashion. She said she created her own fashion styles and made everyone in the community laugh. Fanta’s family is represented by Bruce L. Castor Jr.
Two teenagers have been arrested in connection with the shooting incident that claimed Fanta’s life. Hasein Strand, 18, of Collingdale, agreed to illegal firearm possession and aggravated assault; and Angelo Ford, might be charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, and weapons violations.